Where’d Bardon get his elemental breathing?
If you’ve read Bardon’s Initiation into Hermetics, you know two things:
1. Translating from the Czech into the German and then into English does not make clear or elegant prose.
2. Central to his system is a “pore breathing” method of bringing the elements into one’s body and consciousness.
If you’ve read Donald Michael Kraig’s Modern Magick, you probably also remember that pore breathing technique. But Kraig makes less of it than Bardon.
The thing is, once I got past Bardon’s horrid prose (which took me a long time to do — not his fault!), I recognize the utility of his method. Using the breath to absorb, through visualization (visual and tactile), elemental essences is a remarkably handy tool. It is more versatile than the Middle Pillar (which has other uses, though, as well) and one doesn’t have to be limited to elements. I’ve absorbed planetary essences, even spirit names, by visualizing them as colored lights or mists. But I wonder where he got this method from?
Could Bardon have read some Taoist books, and absorbed the idea of “colored mists” from Taoist magic? I don’t know — I know the approximate dates that Taoist materials made their way into English (believe it or not, it was an important point in my dissertation), but I don’t know when they might have arrived in German or Czech. Jan Fries details, as well as he can (it’s not easy, since translations of the relevant texts are few and far between even now) several such methods that resemble Bardon’s method. Or did Bardon get it, as might be more likely, from Hindu “Pranic” breathing? Either way, Bardon makes it something uniquely his own, and offered it to the Western Mystery Tradition. As techniques go, it’s one I like.